Timika, Jubi – The Timika City District Court on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, for the third time postponed the reading of the charges against four defendants in the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents in Mimika Regency. The public prosecutor was reportedly not ready to read out the charges.
The four defendants are Roy Marten Howay, Andre Pudjianto Lee, Dul Umam, and Rafles Lakasa. The trial was led by chief judge Putu Mahendra and member judges M Khusnul F Zainal and Riyan Ardy Pratama.
In Tuesday's hearing, public prosecutor Apry Silaban said the charges file was still in discussion with his superior. Silaban then asked the panel of judges to give him additional time.
Previously, the plan to read out the charges on April 14 and 18 also failed due to the same reason. Chief judge Putu Mahendra reprimanded the prosecutor and demanded him not to delay the reading of the charges.
Putu said the first detention extension period would end on May 12 while the second extension period would end on June 19. The panel of judges decided to adjourn the hearing until May 4.
The legal representative of the victim's family, Gustaf Kawer of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Human Rights for Papua criticized the prosecutor. According to him, delaying the reading of charges three times was not in line with the principle of an immediate and cost-effective trial.
According to Kawer, the prosecution agenda should not have been complicated as the case had also been tried at the Surabaya High Military Court III and Jayapura Military Court III-19. The two military courts tried six soldiers of the Raider 20/Ima Jaya Keramo Infantry Brigade who were also involved in the murder.
"The material and facts of the trial are almost the same," Kawer told reporters on Tuesday.
Kawer said the facts of the trial were sufficient to charge Roy Marten Howay, Andre Pudjianto Lee, Dul Umam, and Rafles Lakasa with joint premeditated murder as stipulated in Article 340 Jo Article 55 Paragraph (1) to the Criminal Code. He hoped the prosecutor would charge with the maximum penalty as the victim's family wished.
"Why is it postponed three times? If the prosecutor is still coordinating with the AGO, I think it is taking too long," he said.
Kawer is also concerned about the detention status of the four defendants. If the trial continues to be postponed, Kawer is worried that there will be no extension of the detention period, which means the four defendants can be released.
"That will hurt the justice of the victims' families. We hope that Thursday will eventually be the day of reading charges. This is the last chance for the prosecutor to prove their seriousness in representing the victims," Kawer said.
Another advocate of the Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights for Papua, Helmi, is also worried that the postponement of the trial could end up leaving the defendants unpunished. "The prosecutor handling this case must be serious and professional in representing the interests of victims," he said.
Helmi further asked the AGO's Supervisory Commission to oversee the performance of the prosecutor in this case. The coalition also asked the Judicial Commission to oversee the panel of judges.
A member of the victim's family, Pale Gwijangge, said that until now, the victim's family had been patiently waiting for the trial process. Therefore, he said, the prosecutor should seriously handle the case.
"Please don't drag out this trial. We are already victims, now revictimized with the prolonged trial. This is certainly detrimental to us victims' family," Gwijangge said, adding that he hoped the four defendants were charged with the maximum penalty for premeditated murder.
Military court decision
The murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents occurred in Settlement Unit 1, Mimika Regency on August 22, 2022. The four victims were Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemaniel Nirigi, and Atis Tini.
The case involved six soldiers of the Raider 20/Ima Jaya Keramo Infantry Brigade who were tried separately at the Surabaya High Military Court III and the Jayapura Military Court III-19.
On January 24, 2023, Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi was found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to life and dismissed from the Army. Then on February 16, 2023, four other soldiers, First Pvt. Rahman Amin Sese, First Pvt. Rizky Oktaf Muliawan, First Pvt. Robertus Putra Clinsman, and Chief Pvt. Pargo Rumbouw were also found guilty of the same crime. Meanwhile, Capt. Inf Dominggus Kainama was not tried because he died on December 24 last year due to heart disease.
Sese and Muliawan were punished with life imprisonment, while Clinsman was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Rumbouw 15 years. All four were dismissed from the Army. (*)